A fresh look at fasting
May 28, 2015 | by: Jason Shiels | 0 Comments
Anyone who has fasted knows that it can be really hard work. The thoughts of food come flooding in from nowhere, temptation to stop is strong, headaches mount as detox kicks in, and the battle to begin to pray doesn't seem any easier just because there is no food in the belly!
Too often we end up fasting to try and win God's approval. We believe in a God of grace but end up coming under the Law when we fast in a fickle attempt to build our tower of Babel a little closer to God...is that high enough Lord? Can you see me now Lord? Look at how high we got!
No, we have missed the point. Have a look at this post-exile declaration by Zechariah,
Zechariah 7v4-5 says,
"Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me: "Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years (while they were in exile), was it for me that you fasted?"
Boom.....There it is......
Do we fast to earn brownie points from God to get him to do what we want Him to do, or is our first intent and motivation to fast and pray in order to bless, honour , know and meet with Him?
The exile happened primarily because Israel's hearts had grown cold to Yahweh. They turned from him to mute idols and embraced the lifestyle of their pagan neighbours. Their hearts grew cold. The exile was a severe lesson but brought them back to putting God first. During the exile their fasting was patently not with the purpose of knowing and loving God. God hated that. All the pleading and crying and mourning for God to change their situation was not where their fasting should have been centred.
Today, as we are reminded about the importance of prayer, and sometimes accompanied with fasting, let us remember to ask the question and respond accordingly,
Is this for God that I fast and pray?
A short prayer:
Lord, remind us today of the purpose of fasting. You have ALREADY fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, you have ALREADY redeemed your children, Lord as we pray (and sometimes fast) remind us that this is ALL ABOUT YOU. Remind us that knowing you and having a PASSION for you and your name is what fasting is all about. Restore to us this day a true and earnest passion to know you and not just to have you know our needs and wants, in JESUS' NAME. Amen.